Foster and PYGA Euro Steel team-mates dominate Drak Descent day one

Foster and PYGA Euro Steel team-mates dominate Drak Descent day one

Against the picturesque backdrop of the Southern Drakensberg, riders were treated to sublime conditions on Day One of the Euro Steel Drak Descent mountain bike race on Saturday with Michael Foster and his team-mates claiming the honours.

The young star headlined a dominant day for his squad as his PYGA Euro Steel team-mates Philip Buys and Alex Miller finished alongside him as the first team across the line.

Riders of the longer Drak Descent set off on Saturday morning in prime mountain biking conditions and the reaction from the riders suggested that the tracks provided by the organisers were of a high standard.

It was a dominant display from the PYGA Euro Steel trio who finished two minutes clear of the second solo rider, Tipping Point/Brink Academy’s schoolboy Omar Wilson.

Despite the outcome of the day’s racing, Foster didn’t aim to finish with a two-minute buffer.

“I was a lot off the pace at the start but myself, Phil (Buys) and Alex (Miller) got ourselves to the front and on one of the climbs we got ahead,” Foster said.

“When we were ahead we mixed up the pace a bit with some fast sections and then after Phil took a fall we took it easy into the finish.

“I didn’t plan for the day to pan out like that, but I thought that it would go that way.”

For Buys, it was a good hit-out with bigger goals in mind this year.

“It was a lekker ride,” Buys said. “My partnership with Alex worked well and today was a good preparation for us going into the big races of 2023.

“We had a good day out and it was close to the perfect day, and the trails were a lot drier than last year, but there were some slippery sections.”

There was a gap of over four minutes back to the DriveTrain Academy team of Tyronne White and Josh Johnson, while the experienced Andrew Hill was the third solo rider over the line.

In the women’s race, the Hopefully Not Last team of Julie Lee and Mikayla Benkenstein were far from last as they took the line honours on day one. Christie-Leigh van Eeden was the first solo women’s rider across the line in just under two-and-a-half hours.

The shorter Drak Descent MTB Challenge saw Farran Flemington come home first in 89 minutes while Peter Hucklesby was second with Louis Mollentze in third place.

The first female over the line was Angie Miller, six minutes ahead of Laura Wolhuter while Toni Trodd rounded out the top three.

The second and final stage of the Drak Descent will take riders 45km from the Thukeyane Farm School on the Drak Gardens Road to the Umzimkulu River Lodge.

The Drak Descent MTB Challenge will be a shorter 18km that will take the riders along the Sani Spoors Trails from the Thukeyane Farm School and back.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – 2023 Euro Steel Drak Descent Stage One


Overall
1 Michael Foster 01:51:18
2 PYGA Euro Steel (Philip Buys/Alex Miller) 01:51:20
3 Omar Wilson 01:53:51
4 DriveTrain Team (Tyronne White/Josh Johnson) 01:58:11
5 Andrew Hill 01:58:39
6 Tipping Point/Brink Academy (David Low/Keegan Tullis) 02:00:57
7 PYGA Euro Steel 2 (Pressmore Musundi/Wian Van Den Bergh) 02:02:09
8 Brent Yelland 02:03:35
9 Tayne Rudling 02:04:34
10 Damon Stamp 02:04:48

Solo
1 Michael Foster 01:51:18
2 Omar Wilson 01:53:51
3 Andrew Hill 01:58:39
4 Brent Yelland 02:03:35
5 Tayne Rudling 02:04:34

Team
1 PYGA Euro Steel (Philip Buys/Alex Miller) 01:51:20
2 DriveTrain Team (Tyronne White/Josh Johnson) 01:58:11
3 Tipping Point/Brink Academy (David Low/Keegan Tullis) 02:00:57
4 PYGA Euro Steel 2 (Pressmore Musundi/Wian Van Den Bergh) 02:02:09
5 DriveTrain Lighties (Tristan Jacobs/Seth Aszalos) 02:09:08

Women
1 Hopefully Not Last (Julie Lee/Mikayla Benkenstein) 02:14:00
2 Christie-Leigh Van Eeden 02:26:51
3 Claudia Slattery 02:35:16

Drak Descent MTB Challenge

Overall
1 Farran Flemington 01:29:28
2 Peter Hucklesby 01:31:04
3 Louis Mollentze 01:32:47
4 Bertus Griesel 01:33:00
5 Bradley Vickery 01:37:00
6 Khaya Gadalane 01:37:50
7 Andrew Carr 01:39:27
8 Nqubela Diko 01:39:47
9 Wayne Shelley 01:41:15
10 Bruce Dorrofield 01:41:21

©2023 Sani Spoors